Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on November 17th, 2013

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Experiencing Disney via new technology utilizing apps while traveling

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A few weeks ago, I blogged about Disney's latest technology, the Magic Band. In that blog installment, I discussed my experience thus far with the plan ahead elements of the bands and the My Disney Experience app. In this installment, I will cover my families overall experience with using the bands and the app in the parks.

Our family of five just returned from our annual trip to Walt Disney World. As mentioned in the previous blog, we planned things ahead of time via the app and received our bands well in advance. My kids groaned a bit about having to wear them, especially the two oldest. But, once they had them on they never complained. They found them to be light weight and thought the advantages the bands provided us while in the parks outweighed having to wear it.

The bands are still in the testing phase per Disney. Only onsite Disney Resort guests can currently take part in this testing. We found the testing to run exceptionally smooth. As developers, we went in with the knowledge that when things are in testing phase, there are kinks, bugs or errors to work out in development. Honestly, we had none. The bands opened our door, worked as our park tickets, served as Fast Pass+ for the rides we selected and functioned as a digital wallet allowing me to make purchases via a passcode of my choosing and charging it to our room.

We also utilized the app during our visit in conjunction with the bands. We utilized it to alter dining reservation times, switch times on Fast Pass+ and view ride wait times and park hours. For instance, on our last day, it was raining. I was able to change our Fast Passes around so that we could ride indoor rides versus getting soaked on Big Thunder Mountain.

There are some features I would like to see added to the app, and maybe they are in the pipeline already. I would love to be able to view my purchases and see my Disney dining plan entitlements. It was nice receiving an email of my checkout receipt but I would love to monitor it in real-time via the app.

Overall we had an outstanding experience. We loved not having to utilize the traditional Fast Pass system. With that system, you had to walk to the ride, pull the pass then find something else to do until your return time. Often times with headliner rides you were rushing at park opening to get those key passes or wait in a hour plus line, or not ride that key attraction at all. With the app, we were able to sleep in a bit and still ride our favorites later in the day. We were able to take in more shows because we were not wasting time going back and forth to the same attraction.

Disney has always been a leader in technology. With the Magic Bands, they are continuing in that role. Many people will view this new technology as too much planning, but in reality, it made our day more spontaneous because we could move things on a whim and utilize more free time. The future of travel will be made easier via apps and mobile technology. Have you visited Disney lately and had a chance to try the Magic Bands? Or do you have an upcoming trip where you have been invited to test them? I would love to hear your experience with the app and the bands too!